Opposition leaders on Sunday showed impatience with Team Anna member Arvind Kejriwal, who was seeking their views on specific issues relating to the Jan Lokpal Bill after they had finished giving their party's stand from the dais they shared with social activist Anna Hazare as he observed a day-long fast at Jantar Mantar here.
As soon as the leaders finished their speeches, Mr. Kejriwal, one of the key negotiators in Team Anna, requested them to state their positions on specifics. “If you all are in agreement, then it's fine but if you have any different view, please express it,” he said.
After one or two clarifications given by Nikhil Dey of the National Campaign for People's Right to Information and CPI (M) leader Brinda Karat, D. Raja of the CPI stood up to say that the detailed discussions should be left to Parliament. Ms. Karat also said that the legal language was very specific and a word here or there could change the entire meaning.
“The devil lies in the detail. If you are uncomfortable then we will only discuss some key points,'' said Mr. Kejriwal.
At this, BJP leader Arun Jaitley took the mike and said that the leaders had already discussed the fundamental issues and agreed to most of the key demands of Team Anna. “There has to be some detailing and language, you should leave it to Parliament. We all have agreed to a strong and independent Lokpal Bill. If it is not so, we will oppose it.”
Ms. Karat said, “if the government hijacks the Bill [in Parliament] and keeps it in government stranglehold, then Lokpal will be in jeopardy.”
Standing Committee member Pinaki Mishra said the draft Bill based on the panel's recommendations was “not cast in stone” and could be changed when it came to Parliament.
Earlier, Telugu Desam Party's Yerran Naidu said that the Jan Lokpal Bill was the “wish of the people.” The winter session of Parliament could be extended or a special session called to discuss the Bill and pass it.
Mr. Raja called for representation to the Dalits, the tribals and women not only in the Search Committee but also on the Lokpal panel.
Mr. Jaitley said the BJP wanted everybody in the government to come under the Lokpal Bill including Prime Minister.
He said the Lokpal should have a search committee of its own with people of impeccable integrity. “It is very important to take the CBI out of the government's hands. The CBI Director should not come under the government.”